The Complete Tailgating Food Safety Guide  

Serious football fans believe in seriously fun tailgating, so don't leave anything to chance when you head for the stadium.

Once you've decided on your tailgating menu, use our Game-Day Checklist to make sure that you have everything you need to enjoy the food in style. If you're a season-ticket holder and tailgate almost every weekend, keep your supplies all in once place, packed, and ready to load up for the next week.

Whether you're a tailgating rookie or a seasoned pro, our guide gets you ready for the ultimate game-day experience. You might even get penalized for excess celebration.

Keep it Safe
Because tailgate parties are usually all-day food fests and grilling extravaganzas, they're also a time of increased risk of food poisoning. Before you pack your cooler and head off to the game, remember these simple food safety tips.

  • Keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold.
  • Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or icepacks to keep temperature below 40º F.
  • Take foods in the smallest quantity needed - pack only the amount of food you think you'll use. Consider taking along non-perishable foods and snacks that don't need to be refrigerated.
  • Keep raw foods separate from already prepared foods.
  • Transport the cooler in the back seat of your air-conditioned car instead of in your hot trunk and keep your cooler closed tight.
  • Bring moist towelettes or soap and water to clean your hands and surfaces often.
  • Remove from the cooler only the amount of raw meat, fish or poultry that will fit on the grill at one time.
  • Cook your favorite foods to the right temperature by using a meat thermometer; hamburger to at least 160º F and chicken breasts to 165º F.
  • Don't let food sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90º F or higher), reduce this time to one hour.
  • When the tailgate is over, discard all perishable foods if there is no longer sufficient ice in the cooler or if gel packs are no longer frozen.

For more tips on food safety visit the following sites:

HomeFoodSafety.org

EatRight.org

FightBac.org

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